I’ve just done a quick scan of all the matches involving the county this coming weekend and it’s a bit of a list. It’s worth, then, providing an overview of what’s on so you can check the diary and see which ones you might be able to make.
First up is the double-header at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. The curtain-raiser there sees the county’s minor team face Galway in the third round of the Connacht Minor Football League. Damien Gavin’s charges have victories over Roscommon and Leitrim under their belts from their first two outings, with last Saturday’s 2-8 to 0-9 win over the latter achieved despite the absence of 11 squad members who were on college football duty that day. This coming saturday’s match against Galway throws in at 3pm.
After that comes what is surely one of the pivotal ties in this year’s battle for national honours at U21 level, when Mike Solan’s young guns face Galway in the Connacht semi-final. We’re the defending Connacht and All-Ireland champions at this level but in this final year of U21 competition Galway have equal, if not stronger, hopes of going all the way.
U21 is straight, old-fashioned knockout championship football so, barring a replay, only one of them will still be standing come Saturday evening. Throw-in for this one is 5pm at the spiritual home of football in Galway and the winners will go on to play whomever emerges from the Roscommon/Sligo semi-final that’s on this evening at Kiltoom (throw-in 7.30pm).
At the same time as the U21s go into action on Saturday evening in Tuam, the county’s ladies senior team will be underway in their LGFA NFL match against Dublin. The novelty factor here is that, for the first time ever, a ladies senior league match has been paired with a men’s NFL game at Croke Park. Dublin play Roscommon there on Saturday evening at 7pm and the Dublin/Mayo ladies tie is on in advance of this, throwing in at 5pm.
It’s the first time the county’s ladies team will have played at Croke Park since, I think, the 2007 All-Ireland final and it could well be the final time that Carnacon legend Cora Staunton gets to display her talents at GAA HQ. If you’re a season ticket holder, by the way, you’re entitled to print off a ticket without any further charge and head along to Croke Park on Saturday evening.
It’s also a case of two matches on at the same time on Sunday. At Waldron Park in Athleague, the county’s hurlers are in NHL Division 2B action against Roscommon. This is a bottom of the table clash between two counties who both have lost all four matches they’ve played so far this year. That game gets underway at 3pm.
Up at Healy Park in Omagh the same day it’s also a 3pm throw-in for the crunch NFL Division One meeting with Tyrone. It was announced yesterday that TG4 will be showing this match live on the day. Even though it’s a straightforward run from here in the capital, that fact – allied to the scheduling of matches involving the kids – means I’ll most likely opt for watching this one on TV.
I’ve known for some time that I won’t be able to make it to Castlebar for the Donegal game – there’s Féile action on up here that weekend that one of my girls is involved in – so, as I mentioned on the post-Cavan podcast, it looks like my League run this year is already over. The lads still have two bites at the cherry, though, in seeking to preserve their top tier status so their NFL race has a bit of distance to be covered yet.